Alumna Ibby Han Heading to Asia as Luce Scholar

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(Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

University of Virginia alumna Ibby Han will work in Asia next year as a Luce Scholar.

Han, who graduated from the University in 2017 with a degree in political and social thought, was selected as one of 18 Luce Scholars this year. She is UVA’s 13th Luce Scholar.

Han, who has lived in Charlottesville since she graduated, worked for the Virginia Student Power Network, which “builds grassroots power for social, racial and economic justice on Virginia campuses,” she said. She began as a student organizer, then became the executive director for three years.

Andrus G. Ashoo, director of UVA’s Office of Citizen Scholar Development, first encountered Han while she was protesting as a student. He later helped guide her through the Luce application process.

“We actually met when she was protesting outside of the building where I used to work and I was just trying to get in,” Ashoo said. “Rather than the shouting approach of some of her peers, she stood out as the only student to notice I was not involved or all that influential, and she instead sought to speak with me and inform me about their cause. That humility, adaptability and compassion are all traits I continued to witness in Ibby over the years, and they certainly played a major role in her selection as a Luce Scholar.”

Han sees her Luce Scholarship as a way to extend her activism.

“I applied for the Luce because after nine years working at the nexus of policy and social movements in Virginia, I aim to expand my experience to the international level,” Han said. “While on my Luce year, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of how communities in Asia are impacted by rising U.S.-China tensions and how grassroots social movements shape the political landscape.”

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What's Bigger Than Big Data? Brain Data.

Han is not sure yet where in Asia she will be placed. This will be her first experience working in Asia.

The Luce Scholars Program provides an immersive experience to young scholars with limited previous exposure to Asia, where they will encounter cultural and linguistic challenges in an effort to grow personally and professionally.

The newly selected 2023- 24 Luce Scholars come from a range of backgrounds and disciplines. This newest cohort is the most diverse to date, including 14 persons of color, several first- or second-generation immigrants, LGBTQ+ individuals, first-generation college graduates and permanent residents of the United States.

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Matt Kelly

University News Associate Office of University Communications